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Cataracts

This guide will help you learn more about:

  1. how cataracts develop
  2. how cataracts are treated with surgery
  3. what kind of costs to expect, and
  4. how long it will take you to recover from surgery

The information will help you be more educated and involved in your eye doctor’s treatment through diagnosis, surgery and recovery.

What is a Cataract?

Like a camera, the eye sees when light enters it. Inside your eye is a natural clear lens, much like the lens of a camera. It focuses the light rays coming through the pupil onto the retina at the back of the eye. The different parts of the retina collect this light and send a message to your brain, enabling you to see.

For perfect vision the lens should be clear so that light can pass through it. Light enters through the cornea, passes through your natural lens and is focused onto your retina, resulting in clear vision

When the lens becomes cloudy or opaque, light cannot pass through it. Cataract scatters the light rays passing through the eye, thus resulting in blurred vision. A cataract is not a growth or a film over the eye, but it is a condition when the natural lens inside your eyes gets cloudy. Compared to vision with a clear lens, your vision with a cataract may look fuzzy, colors might be muted, and you may experience difficulty in reading signs while driving at night. The symptoms of cataracts are progressive and cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts. When symptoms become bothersome or limit your daily activities, it’s time to consider treatment.

What causes cataract?

The most common cause of cataract is degenerative changes due to the ageing process. With age, proteins in the natural lens

degenerate, resulting in a clouded lens called a cataract. There might be other causes such as:

  • Health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, glaucoma, smoking, eye injuries, infection, and inflammation inside the eye
  • Prolonged use of certain medications can also lead to cataract formation
  • Cataract may also occur in children due to genetic or metabolic defect or due to infection and trauma

What are the symptoms of cataract?

If you have cataract, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms.

  • Cloudy vision
  • Colors of objects may appear faded
  • Poor eyesight at night
  • Difficulty in driving at night, especially because of the glare of lights
  • Difficulty in reading in dim light
  • Colored haloes
  • You may see multiple images or double images

How can the cataract be removed?

In cataract surgery your natural clouded lens will be replaced by an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This lens helps the incoming light rays to focus properly on your retina, thus enabling you to see clearly. Your new lens should be able to restore vision to nearly what it was earlier, though you may need to wear glasses for reading or driving.

The lens options include MONOFOCAL lenses – corrects distance vision, and MULTIFOCAL lens – corrects distance, intermediate and near vision. In some cases light does not focus correctly on the retina and the image appears distorted even after implanting monofocal or multifocal lenses. This happens when the shape of the eye is not circular resulting in distorted vision – a condition called as astigmatism. In such cases an option of customized “toric monofocal lenses” or “toric multifocal lenses” can be used.

What surgical techniques are available at LVPEI to remove the cataract?

LVPEI offers various advanced, cutting edge surgical techniques to treat cataract. Based on the type of cataract you have, your health condition and your lifestyle, the Ophthalmologist will recommend the best suitable option for you. The three commonly used surgical techniques are:-

Small Incision Cataract Surgery (SICS):

This is also a new technique where the cataract is removed manually through a slightly larger incision. This technique is used if your cataract is excessively hard, making phacoemulsification difficult.

Phacoemulsification:

  • In this method a tiny instrument is inserted through a very small incision (approximately 2.2 to 2.8 mm wide).
  • Ultrasound vibrations break the cataract into tiny pieces.
  • These pieces are gently suctioned out.

Usually no stitches are required to close the incision. This minimally invasive surgery allows faster and safer healing, and you can return to your normal activities in no time.

Femto Second Laser Cataract Surgery:

The Femto-second laser is the latest breakthrough in advanced cataract surgery, resulting in higher precision and safety of crucial steps of the surgery. The laser can help in

  • Creation of surgical incisions
  • Perfect Circular opening on the lens surface (capsulotomy)
  • Fragmentation of the natural human cataractous lens

The additional advantage of this laser is that it is accurate enough to plan incisions in the peripheral cornea to aid in the correction of pre-existing corneal astigmatism (cylindrical power).

What are the various lens options available at LVPEI?

Intra Ocular Lens (IOL) Options for cataract surgery Monofocal Lens

A Monofocal IOL is the basic type of lens implanted after cataract surgery. It is designed to provide clear distance vision. However, you will need glasses for reading and for close detailed work. There are various materials that a monofocal lens is available in.

Toric Monofocal Lens

It is used to correct corneal astigmatism. Corrects your vision for distance vision and cylindrical power (if any) and will require you to use glasses for near and intermediate work.

Aspheric Lens:

Most lenses have a spherical surface, which can induce aberrations in vision. Aspheric optics ensure better quality vision and enhanced contrast sensitivity. It also allows better night vision and visibility under low light condition.

Multifocal Lens

It is designed to help to see clearly at near, intermediate and far distance, and reduces the dependency on glasses. This does not mean that you can do away with glasses completely and may occasionally need glasses for very fine tasks at near and distance.

Multifocal Toric Lens

Corrects cataract and also astigmatism, provides clear vision for near, intermediate and far distance and reduces the dependency on glasses. This does not mean that you can do away with glasses completely and may occasionally need glasses for some fine tasks at near and distance

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to treat cataracts?
Many people think that cataract has to develop completely before it can be removed, but this is no longer true. Cataract surgery is a safe and predictable procedure that can be performed at any point of time you feel your reduced vision is impacting your day-to-day life.
What happens if cataract is not treated?
If left untreated, over a period of time, the clouded areas of the lens can become larger and denser, resulting in worsening of the vision. This could take anywhere between a few months to many years. Eventually your entire lens can become clouded, leading to further increase in blurred vision, thus affecting your daily activities.
How do I know which lens is right for me?
No single lens works for everyone and your ophthalmologist can determine the most appropriate option for you. However in general if you would like to depend less on glasses, ask about our range of multifocal lenses.
Can cataract come back?
Once cataract is removed it cannot reoccur. However over a period of time, some patients may complain of cloudy vision. This condition is called secondary cataract and it can be treated by a simple laser procedure.
How successful is the cataract surgery?
The overall success rate of a cataract surgery is +98%. Continuous innovation in techniques and instruments has made the procedure simpler and safer than before.
Will I require glasses for distance after cataract surgery?
In most of the cases a small refractive error is present after cataract surgery and wearing glasses will make your vision sharper.
Will I be awake during the surgery?
Yes. Your surgeon will offer you medication to help you relax and take steps to make sure you don’t feel any pain.
How long does cataract surgery last?
The procedure typically lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, though it may be two to three hours from when you check in until you leave Operation Theater.
How much does cataract surgery cost?
The cost of cataract surgery can vary depending on a number of factors, including:
Type of intraocular lens (IOL) you want to select
The technology involved in the procedure
For more details please visit our institute or call us on 040-30612140 or email us at cataract@lvpei.org
Are there any visual side effects?
As your eyes heal in the days following surgery, you may experience various visual disturbances, such as glare and halos (rings around light sources) in certain lighting conditions. This is normal and usually subsides over time.
When can I expect to achieve visual recovery?
Most people notice a significant improvement in their vision and can resume everyday activities within 24 hours after cataract surgery with precautions that have been informed to you after surgery. However, depending on which intraocular lens you have implanted, it can take between two weeks to six months to completely adjust and for you to achieve your optimal vision.